NR and NMN Supplement: Differences Between the Two NAD+ Precursors

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NR and NMN are two molecules that play an essential role in improving lifespan by boosting NAD+. While these two substances can be found in small amounts in various foods, NR and NMN supplements might be an alternative that helps improve NAD+. In this article, let’s learn what NR and NMN are and how big the difference is between them.

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NR Versus NMN Supplement: How Different They Are?

While most anti-aging treatments help reverse aging at the skin level, nicotinamide riboside (NR) and nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) do it from inside your body. Before we look into the differences between NR and NMN, let’s review NR, NMN, and NAD+.


What Is Nicotinamide Riboside (NR)?

Nicotinamide riboside (NR) is a molecule that functions as a precursor to NAD+. NR is similar to vitamin B3 since it is an alternative form of vitamin B3. NR can be found in small concentrations in cows’ milk, yeast, and beer.

NR supplements have proven to be effective in increasing NAD+ levels. According to a study, NR significantly increases NAD+ levels in yeast. Further research reveals NR boosts NAD+ levels in mammalian cells up to 270%. These findings suggest that the salvage pathway of NAD+ biosynthesis, which involves NR, has a unique role in boosting NAD+ levels.


What Is Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (NMN)?

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Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (NMN) is a molecule required to produce NAD+. NMN can be found in small amounts in fruits, milk, and vegetables. However, most NMN in mammals is produced from vitamin B3 as nicotinamide.

NMN supplies the energy required by vital enzymes in our bodies to maintain the epigenome, repair DNA, and perform various essential functions in our cells. As a direct NAD+ precursor, NMN is a vital component in increasing NAD+ levels in cells. Similar to NR, supplementing NMN can increase NAD+ levels.


What Is Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD+) and Why Is It Important?

Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is an essential coenzyme found in every cell in the body. It’s involved in many metabolic processes. Apart from water, NAD+ is the most abundant molecule.

There are 4 precursors of NAD+: nicotinamide (NAM), nicotinic acid (NA), nicotinamide riboside (NR) and nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN).

NAD+ is necessary for energy and cellular functions. It performs two functions: it helps convert nutrients into energy. And it acts as a helper molecule for proteins that regulate cellular functions.

Many proteins use NAD+ throughout the body, such as the sirtuins, which repair damaged DNA. NAD+ is also vital for mitochondria, which are the cell’s powerhouses since it generates the chemical energy that our bodies use.

However, our bodies’ NAD+ levels steadily decline as we become older. According to research, by the time a person reaches middle age, NAD+ levels have decreased by half. The research suggests that it is due to a decrease in NAD+ synthesis as people age.

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Differences Between NR and NMN

As similar as they are in boosting NAD+, NR and NMN remain different. Differences between these two NAD+ precursors involve their molecular structures, size, and how cells biosynthesize them into NAD+.



NMN and NR have almost identical molecular structures, except that NMN includes an extra phosphate group. A phosphate group consists of a phosphorus atom bonded to four oxygen atoms (one double bond and three single bonds).



The next prominent difference between NMN and NR is their size. NMN is a bigger molecule than NR due to the additional phosphate group. Because NMN is bigger than NR, it must be broken down to fit into the cell.

Some researchers believe that NMN is too large to pass through cellular membranes and must be converted to NR before entering cells, where NAD+ biosynthesis occurs.


Biosynthesis Process

Another difference is the biosynthesis process in which NR and NMN turn into NAD+. While NMN is the immediate precursor to NAD+, NR requires conversion to NMN via NRK enzymes before converting to NAD+.



Although NR and NMN supplements have been used to boost NAD+ and fight against aging, scientists have argued to find out which one is more effective.

Bioavailability can be used as a measure of efficacy. It refers to the rate and extent to which NR or NMN supplementation is absorbed and reaches the blood circulatory system.

While most studies on NR bioavailability involve human subjects, studies on NMN bioavailability only consist of animals. This might indicate that NR might be a more efficient precursor.


NR Bioavailability

According to an 8-week study on the effects of long-term NR administration on healthy men and non-pregnant, non-breastfeeding women aged 40 to 60, consumption of 100, 300, and 1000 mg NR increased NAD+ by 22%, 51%, and 142% within two weeks of administration. No flushing and adverse effects were reported.


NMN Bioavailability

According to a 12-month study on the effects of long-term NMN administration on mice, NAD+ was quickly synthesized in tissues after oral administration of NMN. In addition, NMN reduced age-related physiological deterioration, reduced age-related body weight gain, improved energy metabolism, and increased physical activity. There were no evident toxicity or adverse effects reported.

Consuming NR and NMN supplements can safely and efficiently enhance NAD+ levels as we age. As a result, these two NAD+ precursors have the potential to play an essential role in anti-aging.


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